Focus your analytics efforts on these three areas of your business to solve new challenges prompted by the recession.
We know that business is not going to “return to normal” after the pandemic. Your business is going to be fundamentally changed. Those who use data to drive decision-making and to adapt their business accordingly will come out stronger than those that don’t.
There are three important areas of your business you need analyze to (1) get a better understanding of the state of your business and (2) solve new challenges prompted by the recession:
Financial Analytics are also vitally important, but we won’t be covering those here because most organizations already have at least a fair handle on their finances through standard financial reporting.
The first key to understanding your business landscape is in taking a look at your customers – specifically, the end consumer of your product or service. How have their buying habits and behaviors changed? When will they start buying again? What products do they want or need? How do they want them delivered? Can you find a way to better serve them than your competitors?
The same applies even if you are a B2B company – your product or service is still part of a supply chain that fulfills a consumer need. You need to understand what that consumer wants and understand your role in delivering it.
A good place to start to answer these questions is by measuring customer sentiment. You can analyze surveys, measure social media engagement, and measure sales early to detect changes before they hit your P&L. You can also analyze trends in your product mix or distribution of sales to get early indicators. These are all types of Customer Analytics, and you should have much of the data you need to start analysis now. If you cannot answer basic questions about your customers’ needs quickly (within minutes), prioritize your data infrastructure and analytics capabilities. And if you only know your customer at a high level, it is time to dig deeper to uncover more subtle hints that could be hiding your data.
The next area to analyze is your actual supply chain. Supply Chain Analytics will help you handle issues around inventory management, service levels, productivity, and labor planning. If you are a manufacturer, distributor, or retailer, your supply chain has been upended and probably exposed as being fragile. You’ve likely added different suppliers, changed shipping procedures, and dealt with longer shipping times. Do you have the metrics at your fingertips to be able to adjust to supply or demand disruption across all your locations?
With so many disruptions and changes to your supply chain, any decisions made on old data will be wrong. Analytics that expose today’s or yesterday’s supply chain patterns are more valuable than those that expose last week’s or last month’s patterns. Accessibility and real time (or near real-time) access to supply chain data is critical – not just a “nice-to-have.”
A third area that has changed dramatically is your workforce, or at least how employees work. People Analytics not only serve HR professionals, but more importantly, puts an enterprise-wide focus on your most important asset – your people! Understanding what makes your people happy and productive is more important now than ever, and is amplified even more because the way employees work has also changed. Not only can they work from home, but they can work from anywhere. That subtle fact has huge implications for your workforce, not to mention society at large. Now, you may be able to recruit from across the country or world, which also means you will be competing for talent across the world.
A mobile workforce could potentially mean a volatile workforce. How will you identify the best candidates? How will you find and retain the diverse talent you need? How will you identify the best employees and give them the best possible working environment for both their productivity and their happiness? How will you retain and train employees? How will you know if you are doing it right?
You should be connecting people data from across your company. Looking at data like customer satisfaction, employee sentiment, productivity metrics, and financials through the lens of your people will provide the full context and help you avoid making decisions that unintentionally affect other aspects of the business.
While analyzing these three areas of your business is critical to recovering from this recession, that analysis is only possible with a solid data strategy and infrastructure in place. Do you have the data needed to support these analytics? Where is the data coming from? Where is it stored? Can everyone in the organization access it? Is your data strategy aligned with your new business reality and requirements? Now is the time to rethink your data strategy and ensure your infrastructure supports agile decision-making in a quickly changing economy.
The ideas in this blog post only scratch the surface of how to use data to make better decisions during a recession. In our upcoming webinar, data experts will participate in an interactive panel discussion and discuss in more detail about how Customer Behavior, Supply Chain, and HR/People Analytics can help you handle new challenges and uncover new opportunities.
To thrive with your data, your people, processes, and technology must all be data-focused. This may sound daunting, but we can help you get there. Sign up to meet with one of our analytics experts who will review your data struggles and help map out steps to achieve data-driven decision making.
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